Call of Duty marketing finds a new level of tastelessness

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The latest marketing push for Call of Duty: Vanguard wants you to believe its graphics are so realistic that conflict photographers can't tell the difference between the videogame and reality. "Call of Duty: Vanguard captures the epic intimacy of World War II in an incredibly immersive manner," said chief marketing officer Fernando Machado, presumably keeping a straight face.

A pair of photojournalists were given "special camera-like portals [to enter] into the game engine itself," where they captured images just as they would if they were photographing a real conflict. Naturally, they also raved about how realistic the experience was: "As photographers, this is what conflict looks like," war journalist Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini said afterward. The resulting video of the two photographers at work (above) is as dramatic and over-egged as any Call of Duty trailer.

Prints of the four photos are being sold to raise funds to help US military veterans find "high quality employment" through the Call of Duty Endowment program. Which is a good cause, and a convenient thing for Activision to keep in its pocket as a response to any accusations of crassness.

Still, these four screenshots aren't exactly Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima (opens in new tab) or the Execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém (opens in new tab). They're being sold for $515 each.

(Image credit: Alex Tonga/Activision)

(Image credit: Alex Tonga/Activision)

(Image credit: Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini/Activision)

(Image credit: Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini/Activision)

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.